002 - Shrinking World - Transport

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Our 'shrinking world' and the forces driving technological innovation:

transport developments over time

Key Concepts

The process of technological advancement has lead to a 'shrinking world'. There are many possibilities for change concerning transport routes and technology.


  • To be to describe and explain how transport developments over time have created a 'shrinking world'.

Key Terminology

            • Time-space convergence

            • Friction of distance

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below.

Useful Links

Activity One - Overview

Before we begin to look at why the world has shrank we will explore how our perception of time and distance have changed by viewing world maps. Use the maps below to help you answer the following questions.

  1. Describe how the time it takes to get to different areas of the world has changed between 1914 and 2016. Remember to give examples.

  2. From your own knowledge, explain why you think these changes have taken place.

Image Two - Travel Times 2016

Activity Two - Detailed Example One - Container Shipping

For one of the examples of how the change in transport has helped to 'shrink' our world we are going to focus on container shipping. Ships have always helped to transport our goods and it was one of the first forms of globalisation. In fact, many of the shipping lanes used in the past are still used today. While we may have harnessed the power of wind or even used our own arms to move boats in the past, things have changed. What we transport and the speed of how it happens has also changed. We often watch a number of youtube clips in my lessons to help to give you a snap shot of a relevant issue but for this lesson I am going to mix it up a little. You are going to listen to a short podcast concerning how container shipping has helped to change how we transport our goods.

  1. Collect a piece of A4 paper and a set of coloured pens. Write in the centre of the page 'Container Shipping' and then put a bubble around it. Chose four different colours to represent the four questions that are below. Now listen to the podcast and create a mind map to record the information.

              • What has happened?

              • When did it happen?

              • How has it happened

              • What has been the impact.

Activity Three - Detailed Example Two - Aviation

We have all flown by plane in our lives and many people fly so often the joy of flying by plane is no longer there, but how did we get to this stage? When did flights first begin? Who were the first people to fly by plane and how has the make-up of passengers changed over time? These are important questions to answer when exploring how the aviation industry has helped to 'shrink' the world.

      1. Using the youtube clip below and the articles linked to in the 'Useful Resources' box create a time line of the key moments in aviation history.

      2. Explain how the aeroplane has helped to shrink the world.

      3. What factors diminish the friction of distance? Explain your answers.

      4. Write down what the possibilities are for the future of aviation.

Exam Style Question

Using named examples, explain how the developments in transportation has helped to 'shrink' the planet. [12 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com